The Nonprofit Marketing Blog

Boo! This is scary.

I got asked today, “What scares you?”

What’s downright horrifying, besides the fact that I’m in a hotel lobby that has a Kenny G CD on endless repeat, is how easy it is to fall into the missionary mode and forget to be marketers. We think people care just because we have good intentions. But here’s thing — in the words of a People magazine writer who gets a lot of pitches from charities, “NICE IS NOT ENOUGH!” That’s true, and it’s also terrifying.

Today at the well-organized, thoroughly enjoyable NC Nonprofit conference, where I was speaking, I asked people to answer the following four questions – and take a fifth step – before saying a word to anyone. Since nice is not enough, you’ve got to answer all of these for your supporters:

1. Why me? Why should people care about you, and how are you revelant to their lives, their values, their priorities?
2. What for? What do they personally get out of supporting you and what social good will result?
3. Why now? What’s so urgent about your appeal? Why should people act now?
4. Who says? How credible is the messenger? Who thinks this is worthwhile?

The four one is a new one. I’ve been talking about the first three for a few months, until I realized that in marketing today, the messenger has become even more important than the message. People look to friends and family for what to believe and how to act. We need to find many messengers speaking on our behalf to their own circles of influence.

Hence the addition of, “Who says?” I hope the answer is not just you. That would be scary.

The whole presentation is here if you’re interested!

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About This Blog

Lisa Bonanno
Vice President of Digital Marketing

We’re here to help you win hearts and minds—and donations.

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